Keeping fit with no gyms open is a new NBA challenge

(AP) – Denver’s players, if they’re so willing, have the same assignment each day: Go to their phone or tablet, launch an app and view their individualized daily workout plan that was created by the Nuggets’ strength and conditioning staff.

For now, it’s the best idea the Nuggets have — as they, like every other NBA team, are figuring out new ways to do almost everything.

Nobody knows when NBA players will be in a game again, with the season on hold because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Most don’t even have access to basketball courts right now, and every team training facility is shuttered right now for safety reasons. Public health clubs and gyms are off-limits, too.

But the workouts, somehow, continue. Teams cannot mandate that players take part, but common sense dictates that players still get some sort of workout plan to follow.

“It’s a very interesting subject,” said Claus Antunes de Souza, the Nuggets’ assistant strength and conditioning coach. “Keeping an athlete motivated when they don’t know when they’re going to perform is probably one of the hardest tasks ever. Even in an offseason you kind of have a defined date when you’re going to report back. So not having one of those dates in mind, it makes things very tricky.”

The Nuggets get their workouts to players on a platform called Teambuildr, a site where remote workouts can be programmed and progress can be tracked. The site says a half-dozen NBA teams are using its technology, with Oklahoma City, Houston, Charlotte, Minnesota and Detroit being the others — along with some Major League Baseball, NHL and NFL teams.

Other teams are figuring out their own methods: Kevin Huerter said he’s using FaceTime with members of the Atlanta Hawks’ staff when he’s working out in his basement. The Orlando Magic plan to start utilizing FaceTime to monitor player workouts in the next few days. Zoom, a video conferencing tool, is being used by some teams for workouts where players are together — virtually, anyway.

 

Jonathan Isaac shares his workout plan during this time of quarantine.

“I’ve got a bike here at home now, I’ve got some weights here, so I wake up and I do what I’ve got to do,” said Magic forward Jonathan Isaac, who has been working his way back from a knee injury. “I’ve still been able to progress in my rehab through this thing and you do what you have to do. That’s kind of what we’re all doing right now.”

Magic high performance director David Tenney sent plans to players as well, plus reminded them about the importance of continuing to value nutrition — with an eye on both their physical and mental health.

“While we often recommend lean meats (like fish and chicken) and vegetables for our guys all season, this is a period when it may be even more important,” Tenney said.

The NBA has allowed teams to send equipment to players’ homes for workout purposes during the shutdown, and it appears most if not all have taken advantage. Miami’s Kendrick Nunn showed off a newly delivered bike at his home in a social-media post, and the Heat are among the teams gathering online in small groups while their daily cardio gets done.

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Friday that his team is doing something similar through what he called “voluntary virtual sessions.”

“There’s been bikes delivered, there’s been individual weights delivered,” Stevens said on a call with Celtics’ beat writers.

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